by Eli Clifton
As Marco Rubio emerges as the candidate of choice for the GOP establishment, it’s time to take a closer look at the foreign policy and national security beliefs he espouses. Just last week, Rubio posted a short video on Twitter in which he criticized President Obama’s approach to Israel and pledged his “unconditional support” for the Jewish state.
In the video, Rubio said:
What this president and his administration are doing in Israel is a tragic mistake. What they’re doing is dangerous and it betrays the commitment this nation has made to the right of a Jewish state to exist in peace. No people on earth want peace more than the people of Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of this violence and this terrorism than the people of Israel and they need America’s support unconditionally. If I become president, that’s exactly what they’ll have.
President Obama’s approach to Israel is dangerous. Watch this video and RT if you agree. https://t.co/VpS6EesUi2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2015
So what is the Obama administration doing in Israel that’s “a tragic mistake”? Rubio doesn’t say. Perhaps the presidential hopeful is still upset over the nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel opposed. Or, more dubiously, Rubio might be blaming Obama—somehow—for the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has flared up in recent weeks. Over the past week, however, the Obama administration has repeatedly called for de-escalation of violence and tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and emphasized its “close contact” with Israeli authorities.
Contrary to Rubio’s insistence—again, without offering any specifics—that Obama is endangering Israel, the administration has actually provided unparalleled security assistance to the Jewish state even as it expanded settlements and mounted a campaign, alongside the Republican Party, to scuttle the Iran deal. The Obama White House has provided more than $20 billion in military aid to Israel—including unflinching support for the Iron Dome missile defense system, which has saved Israeli lives—and promised that Israel will be the only country in the Middle East to have the F-35 stealth multirole fighter jet. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the White House cite “unprecedented security cooperation” between the U.S. and Israel during Obama’s presidency.
Whatever unspecified policies Rubio is taking issue with, the generic message—Obama: Bad for Israel—is no doubt exactly what his most hawkish prospective donors, including Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer, want to hear.
As I wrote on Monday, Rubio is attending a fundraiser today hosted by Phil Rosen, a foreign policy adviser to the Florida senator’s campaign, a Republican Jewish Coalition board member, and another outspoken critic of Obama’s handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Rosen, in terms as equally vague as those of his candidate, has declared that Obama believes he’s “entitled to screw Israel.”
Photo: Marco Rubio by Gage Skidmore via Flickr